SV: M-TH: Re: What goes around, comes around (I told you so)

1999-11-14 Thread Bob Malecki

Nice post except for this! 

I don't reckon you do
 that with programmes and small revolutionary parties (not in the west,
 anyway).  You do that with strategy, not tactics.  Compromise, not purity. 
 Uniting on basic principles, not dismembering ourselves on arcana.  Analysis
 of the historical moment and measured publicity.  Not grand metanarratives
 and stirring calls to arms.  Gradualism.  Not breathless appeals to the
 decisive revolutionary moment.

Well we had two World Wars. The first "compromise" was the demise of the second 
international. The second was the demise of the third international. Um what kind of 
"strategical" compromise do you have in mind? The only thing I see viable will be a 
new regroupment along the lines of Zimmerwald..And the way the left has acted recently 
it will take another Zimmerwald to seperate the wheat from the straw.

Already the first shots have been fired in the next round and the left failed 
The other question related to this is the "left" and the question of the SU where many 
still consider it a degenerated workers state or some kind of third world country 
rather then and ex degenerated workers state which has undergone a capitalist counter 
revolution with clear imperialist wannabe intentions. Unfortunately this includes many 
who claim to be "Trotskyist".

So a big regroupment of the whole left certainly will be neccessary and will include 
quite a lot of people with quite different backgrounds. Naturally in this unity will 
be quite different opinions of what and where we are doing and going. But certain 
united front formations will certainly develop out of the coming events. Hopefully 
along the lines of the main enemy is at home! 

Interesting that you take up China because the rubicon lies in if the Chinese 
bureaucracy uses its "one China two systems" theory to actually reunite with the 
compradore Chinese bourgeouisie. If they do it will put into question Japanese 
imperialism as the powerhouse in Asia. And naturally a victorious capitalist counter 
revolution in China leaves a number of options for Japan. But one thing is sure it 
will increase inter imperialist rivalry to white heat!

Finally one thing that bothers me is that a nuclear confrontation between one or more 
imperialist powers might throw us back to the stone age..And the we will really have a 
tribal existence!


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M-TH: Re: What goes around, comes around (I told you so)

1999-11-13 Thread Gerald Levy

G'day Rob,

  A good article called 'In
 Love With Disaster', which accuses capitalism of producing poverty alongside
 wealth, alienation for all, periodic destructions of productive capital,

I didn't get the sense that this was what the article was about ...

 and, of late, some lefties who content themselves with predicting imminent
 systemic self-destruction without lending themselves the credibility of
 first producing detailed and coherent explanations for our apparently
 expansionary times hitherto, or explaining why hard times should indeed turn
 society left when the evidence since the war has been that such social
 shifts have attended the good times more often than the bad.

Rather, this is the major thrust of his article.
 Now this might well be an outrageous load of bollocks, Jerry 

Not at all. Indeed, I think it is a valid criticism of many on the Left
who seem to think that every decline in GDP, increase in the trade
deficit, the rate of unemployment, or even daily declines in stock prices
is an indication of impending doom. Not only is such a perspective wrong
on the face of it, but it is rather a odd perspective for Marxists to hope
for and rejoice over the possibility of another depression -- a depression
in which the lives of millions of working people would be grievously
harmed. It, indeed, reminds me of the pessimism of Raptis (Pablo) who
believed that socialism would arise out of the ashes of thermonuclear

 - all the more
 likely for the fact that I find it utterly compelling - but it's all we have
 to go with  while we await your own analysis and guidance.  Time to step
 forth, Augustus-like to your Philippi, Jerry!  What do YOU reckon?

So, it is "all" we have to go on, is it? C'mon, Rob: even Doug might
appreciate a more critical stance towards his writing.

My perspective, in a nutshell, is that while there is a lot of validity to
what he writes, Doug bends the stick too much in the opposite direction.
Thus, he replaces the "optimism" of those who anticipate an immanent
depression, with the pessimism that the capitalist state has shown that it
can overcome crises and maintain social-economic stability. The
"ultra-leftism" of the former and the reformism of the later are opposite
sides of the same coin. To overcome this, what is needed is a *theory* 
that explains late capitalism rather than a set of empirical/historical
observations *alone*. And, Doug's article is woefully lacking in giving
any theoretical explanation for this subject.

 Here's the article (as I submitted it - there may have been minor 
 editing changes in the published version, but I didn't do a 
 word-by-word comparison). Judge for yourself.

Thanks for making the article available: I've read a lot worse.

Of course, I note that you side-stepped the whole issue of _LM_ -- a
magazine that I recall you were rather sharply critical of in the past. 
Is my memory failing me or isn't that correct? What happened to change
your perspective on _LM_?

Now that you have taken on the role of being a tragic-comic figure, you
are almost likeable.  You would be still more likeable if you weren't an


 In love with disaster
 by Doug Henwood
 Back in 1992, I wrote an article in the newsletter I edit saying 
 that it was pretty likely that the U.S. financial system wasn't going 
 to implode. After the roaring eighties peaked around 1989, the U.S. 
 economy fell into stagnation, and bank failures and bankruptcies 
 reached frightening proportions. Since by most ordinary measures, the 
 financial structure was as bad as or worse than 1929's, it wasn't at 
 all alarmist to fear the worst.
 But George Bush's government came up with hundreds of billions (no 
 one really knows for sure how many) to save the wrecked savings  
 loan industry, and Alan Greenspan's Federal Reserve pushed real 
 interest rates down to 0% and kept them there for years. State action 
 saved capital from itself, and I thought it was time to say that 
 there would be no second Depression. Saying so evoked a fair amount 
 of mail and phone calls, ranging from those expressing concern about 
 my sanity to those expressing outright hostility.
 Last fall, I said pretty much the same thing about the Asian 
 financial crisis - that, thanks to state intervention (mainly an 
 indulgent U.S. Fed and the ministrations of the IMF), the worst of 
 the 1997-98 melodrama was probably behind us. I made it clear that I 
 didn't think the worst was over for the workers and peasants of Asia 
 - - just that the systemic meltdown of the global financial system was 
 looking pretty unlikely. This too evoked reactions similar to 1992's 
 all clear.
 I recount this not to brag about my prescience; I've made lots of bad 
 calls in my life too, though they're a lot less pleasant to think 
 about. One of those bad calls was to take the 1987 stock market crash